Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

No strategy and a beige suit

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 29 August 2014

Read more

ENCORE!

Alain Choquette: A Hilarious Magician in Paris

Read more

FOCUS

France welcomes Iraqi Christian refugees

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Emmanuel Macron: A new economy minister with a pro-business agenda

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

More of this year's best Observers stories

Read more

#TECH 24

Changing the world, one video game at a time

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Socialist Party summer conference kicks off in explosive atmosphere

Read more

  • Exclusive: Fabius warns of further sanctions against Russia

    Read more

  • Experimental Ebola drug ‘ZMapp’ heals all monkeys in study

    Read more

  • IMF stands behind Lagarde amid French corruption probe

    Read more

  • Ukraine to relaunch NATO membership bid

    Read more

  • Suriname leader’s son pleads guilty to courting Hezbollah

    Read more

  • British killer escapes from French psychiatric hospital

    Read more

  • Chelsea’s Torres set for AC Milan switch

    Read more

  • Police hunt for British boy with brain tumour taken to France

    Read more

  • France shines in IMF list of world’s promising economists

    Read more

  • Mapping Ukraine: Canada and Russia in ‘tweet for tat’ row

    Read more

  • First case of Ebola confirmed in Senegal

    Read more

  • Obama has 'no strategy yet' on potential Syria strikes

    Read more

  • Netflix to woo French with ‘House of Cards’ set in Marseille

    Read more

  • French businesses ‘hoping for a new Thatcher’

    Read more

  • Syrian refugees surpass 3 million, UN says

    Read more

  • West backs Ukrainian claims of Russian incursion

    Read more

  • Libyan PM resigns as Islamists set up rival administration

    Read more

  • UN says 43 peacekeepers captured in Golan Heights

    Read more

  • The deleted tweets of Manuel Valls

    Read more

  • Peru seizes record 6.5 tonnes of Europe-bound cocaine

    Read more

Dairy boss on trial over tainted milk scandal

Video by Olivia SALAZAR-WINSPEAR

Latest update : 2008-12-31

The former head of the dairy group Sanlu, Tian Wenhua, stood trial over her firm's mass production of milk laced with melamine that killed six babies and and contaminated 294,000 more. Tian faces life imprisonment if convicted.

AFP- The former boss at the dairy firm at the centre of China's tainted milk scandal stood trial here Wednesday over a trail of death and sickness that pushed Chinese products off store shelves around the world.
   
Relatives of the victims gathered at the court in this northern Chinese city, calling for justice after chemicals-laced milk killed six babies and left another 294,000 suffering kidney and urinary troubles.
   
But lawyers monitoring the case for the families said the charges laid against the former head of the Sanlu Group, Tian Wenhua, were weaker than initially expected and she would thus escape the death penalty.
   
Sanlu was the first and biggest dairy producer found to have sold milk laced with melamine, a chemical used to make plastics which was mixed into watered-down milk to give the appearance of higher levels of protein.
   
The 66-year-old Tian and three colleagues were put on trial on charges of producing and selling defective products, which lawyers said would mean a maximum punishment of life in prison.
   
"They should execute them all," shouted Hua Lian, a 45-year-old woman who described herself as a milk consumer and had come to the court to voice her anger.
   
"They have to deal with these people harshly. Otherwise people will never learn."
   
In all, 22 Chinese dairy firms were found to have sold tainted milk, and the government last week ordered them to pay 160 million dollars in compensation to the families of babies that died or fell ill.
   
The families and their lawyers criticised the sum as woefully inadequate, with some parents set to only receive about 300 dollars.
   
"I'm a farmer. I don't have money to pay for the treatment. My son is still sick and he's not been able to get treatment," said one man in a small group of protesters who demonstrated outside the court before police pushed them away.
   
The roughly half dozen relatives of sickened children who protested held up sheets of paper that read: "The victims have a right to participate in judicial proceedings."
   
This reflected an apparently widespread complaint from the relatives of the victims that they had not been allowed to tell the courts their version of events, and that authorities had rejected civil compensation lawsuits.
   
"We asked to participate in the trial, in the prosecution. We felt that we had a right to participate as we represent the victims," said Xu Zhiyong, a lawyer working for a group of people seeking to sue Sanlu and other milk firms.
   
"But the court refused to allow us to participate. They didn't want the testimony of the people we represent. We think the court has violated legal procedures by not letting us participate."
   
Foreign press were not allowed into the Shijiazhuang court.
   
In China, trials often last just one day and verdicts are announced shortly afterwards.
   
The four Sanlu executives are the highest profile figures to be hauled before the courts over the scandal, after 17 people mostly accused of being middlemen went on trial in recent days.
   
Those verdicts have yet to be announced, but some of the defendants could face the death penalty.
   
The milk scandal became a global problem after it emerged some of the tainted products had been exported, leading to recalls of Chinese dairy foods around the world.

Date created : 2008-12-31

COMMENT(S)